The Herald (Harare)

21 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Continue Planting, Farmers Urged

AGRITEX has encouraged farmers to continue planting summer crops as the window is still open.

Agritex Director, Mr Joseph Gondo, made the call yesterday. Mr Gondo said farmers had up to end of December to continue planting.

"It is still safe to plant and the season is not yet over," he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union second vice president Mr Berean Mukwende said although the rainfall season was late, farmers could still get meaningful yields if they continue planting.

"Many farmers are still planting and it is safe to do so up to end of December," he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said it was still safe to plant maize, sorghum and sugarbeans up to end of January. "The rains may stretch to April and this is enough time for crop production," he said.

Mr Chabikwa emphasised that farmers plant short season variety to get high yields.

This season the Meteorological Services Department predicted a normal to below normal season from October to December in region 3 which comprise of Masvingo, Beitbridge, Gweru, Kwekwe, Chivhu and Buhera.

Normal to above normal were predicted for the same period in region 1 and region 2 which comprise of Mashonaland provinces, Plumtree, Tsholotsho, Lupane and Victoria Falls.

The late onset of the rainfall season resulted in delays in planting.

However, some farmers had planted early with the first rains although the crops ended up wilting due to the continuous dry spell that followed soon after the first rains.

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